USAID helps boost mango export

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ISLAMABAD : The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says it has helped Pakistan boost mango production and exports to world markets, leading towards 75 per cent increase in farm revenues and creation of hundreds of new jobs across the country.



The direct support from USAID in terms of on-farm infrastructure for disease control, cold storage and hygienic packaging, market linkages, capacity building and acquisition of international certifications, has resulted in an overall increase in sales of $20.5 million.


There have been a phenomenal five-fold increase in the export revenue the partner SME farms that currently stand at $5.8 million, it says.


“The US government is supporting Pakistan’s mango farmers through infrastructure upgrades, new market opportunities and access to international certifications,” said US Ambassador Richard Olson at the third annual mango conference and festival.


With a budget of $5.8m to date, USAID ‘Firms Project’ has implemented focused initiatives to improve the capacity of farmers, exporters and value-added processors.


Through infrastructure development, post-harvest processing, cold storage, local and international marketing and international certifications, USAID is developing technically and commercially viable fresh and dried mango and pulping businesses.


The partner small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have also contributed more than $2m to the development process.


“We are thankful to the US government for their support to mango growers and producers that has led to increased productivity and jobs for the Pakistani people.


A relationship that is based on trade, not just aid, is one that we will look forward to in our relationship with the United States,” said the Commerce Secretary Qasim Niaz while speaking at the mango conference.


USAID initiated its mango sector interventions in 2009, to address constraints, such as inconsistent supply, poor fruit quality, high pre and post harvest losses and ineffective marketing with rudimentary or no value addition facilities.


Ambassador Olson said that the mango sector, with USAID assistance, is expanding beyond just growing quality mangoes and exporting them to international markets. It has scaled-up industrial production of dried mangoes to 83 tonnes annually from 2009 when USAID started working with mango growers.


This effort has led to trial shipments of dried mango products samples, including dried mango slices, mango leather and mango candy, to the United States and to other countries in Europe and Asia.


The development of the mango sector is part of a larger US government commitment to Pakistan’s agricultural sector. The results of that commitment have resulted in increased employment and incomes for 800,000 farmer households, representing over five and a half million Pakistanis. With USAID support these farmers have irrigated one million acres of land and have connected to major agri-businesses who help them sell their goods.


The US ambassador said: “The US government remains focused on the partnership with our Pakistani colleagues to strengthen the country’s private sector. We support Pakistan’s efforts to develop internationally competitive firms to accelerate sales, investment and job growth, particularly in the agriculture sector. This cooperation is helping Pakistan build economic prosperity for its people,” he said.


In Pakistan, the mango is more than a fruit. It symbolizes the country's rich horticulture, its exotic climate and its diversity. For me, the mango embodies Pakistan's traditional hospitality and for Pakistanis, it inspires passion and festivity; heralding the season of summer; the time of abundance and prosperity, Ambassador Olson concludes.


The conference was attended by mango growers, exporters and value-added processors who shared their problems relating to mango plant diseases, production losses, post-harvest processing, cold storage facilities and certifications.

Courtesy:  Dawn

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